6x6 (6x4.5) vs 6x7

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Harry Lime, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    Can someone please share their experience with these two formats?
    I am curious if there is a noticeable difference in tonality between 6x4.5 and 6x7? Considering how much bigger the 6x7 format is, I assume that this is the case. Yes? No? Maybe? 6x7 by a nose?

    I'm doing some planing for a longterm portrait project and a long and creamy tonal scale is important for the look I am after. Currently I'm shooting with a Hasselblad and the old silver C lenses. Very nice, but it's not quite there.

    I would shoot 4x5, but it's probably not practical under the circumstances.

    thanks,

    HL
     
  2. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Hi Harry, technically, 6x7 wins. It's a bigger neg. The bigger the neg, the better it is. However, there's a lot more that goes into it that the size of the neg. Galen Rowell shot an incredible amount of 35mm. I don't know if he did other formats, but his work is stunning regardless of the format.

    I use 645 for hiking and weddings as it's both smaller and more frames/roll.

    I use 6x6 for portraits as I can use my waist level. Plus, I can crop a 6x6 neg three ways: H, V and square. There's no law against a square print!

    IMO, it's not the camera, but the artist. You can upgrade you lenses, but I would think it's more in the lighting and posing.
     
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  3. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

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    Going to 6x7 isn't the answer here. You will add at a maximum some 30% to the used film size, which probably will not make a difference given the 'blad as a starting point.
    The use of Carl Zeiss lenses is more of a clue. They are very sharp and while the silver C versions are "only" single-coated, they are still among the best you can find. A modern (read new) CFi lens, e.g. a 150mm Sonnar is to 99% exactly the same lens apart from the multi-coating.
    You can try a Softar I. You can try another film-developer combo. Some old-type film like Efke, Foma or even Ilford HP5 or FP4. Kodak Plus-X is also a good film which is more old-type. Pyro or Pyrocat developers comes to mind.
    There's another now-active thread where an article called "The Glow" is refered to (and also cited in its full content). Look for that, as it sounds like what you're after.

    //Björn
     
  4. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    There is nothing wrong with your Hassy for portraits. You may want to invest in a 150mm lens if you don't have one. This will give better perspective for portraits.
    Look at your film, exposure and development. These factors are more important in making good portraits than the camera used. A soft filter will help take the harshness off images of females.
    Tri-X was first produced for in studio portrait use and is still excellent for such use. HP5+ also works well.
    Depending upon whether the subject is male or female you need to learn how to alter exposure and development to suit the subject.
    There are books and books about exposure and development. Adams book "The Negative" (1980's series) has perhaps the simplest, and most concise information about making negatives for portraits.
    If you don't own a copy, obtaining one will save you lots of film and headaches.
    Jim
     
  5. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    HL, Look at Rolleiflexible's portraits and go from there. As others have stated, what you want in a "look" should be more a function of film exposure and development, rather than a specific lens--perspective excepted.

    An old trick for female portraits was to grossly overexpose Tri-X, then under develop in straight Microdol in order to smooth out the flesh tones and minimize retouching.

    For 35mm "people pix" I always preferred Ilford Fp-4 in straight D23, 1/125 sec @ F/4 in open shade; with normal development of about six minutes @ 68f
     
  6. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    Thank you gents.

    I've shot the Hassy for many years (and Rolleiflex 2.8/80) and you're all correct in regards to the lenses being as sharp as they come etc. By the way, IMO the C series lenses are preferable for portrait work, because although they are incredibly sharp, they glow just the slightest bit and draw in a very pleasing manner. (I have the 80 and 150)

    I'm not necessarily looking for a magic bullet, because... well, they're aren't any in photography.
    ;-)

    6x6 is the biggest format I have really worked with. I'm just not sure how much of a jump in format I would have to make to see a noticeable improvement in tonality. There is a creaminess to 4x5 that you just don't see in 6x4.5 and I was curious if stepping up to 6x7 buys you anything. 6x9 is obviously bigger, but the aspect ratio is not correct.


    PS: My main developer is Barry Thornton's 2-Bath. I primarily shoot Tri-X 400 & Plus-X, but I'm considering ADOX 100 (the old formula) for this project.
     
  7. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Forget the camera, it's the film you want to worry about.

    You won't get a long and creamy scale with a film that has depressed midtones (like Tri-X 320 or Plus-X). You want instead a film that is all midtones. Ilford XP2 Super is perhaps the most remarkable in that instance. Delta 400 could be a choice as well. TMAX films maybe, processed in XTOL, say. FP4+ in XTOL too (almost anything in XTOL!)

    Look at the film spec sheets on the manufacturers' websites, and check their characteristic curves. If there is an upward bend in the middle, go for it. If it's straight, it's still OK. But if you see a downward bend in the middle, forget about it.

    Plus-X isn't really a midtones film. It's got brilliant highlights, especially in HC-110, but I don't find its forte is portraiture. Tri-X 400 in XTOL would be much better in that respect.
     
  8. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    Hey Michel -

    Thanks for the info.

    I'm considering ADOX CHS 100 ART, because of it's old fashioned spectral sensitivity (less red sensitive).
    The portraits are supposed to have a vintage feel.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If you print square from 6x6, you won't see much of a difference in 6x7. If you are routinely cropping to 645, then yes, I think there is a significant improvement by moving to 6x7. Medium format cameras are inexpensive in general these days, so if you want to see for yourself, get an RB67 and a 150mm lens, and if you don't like it, you can sell it for about what you paid.
     
  10. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    I, We, just went through a give and take of the subject
    on the Medium Format Forum. Check for 50% more, Worth
    It? Actually it is 66% more, negative that is. Dan
     
  11. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    Yep, that's one reason why I started to think about 6x7. They are practically giving away something like an RB67 these days... You can get the body, with a 180 and mag for what I paid for my used 4/150 for the Blad...
     
  12. weasel

    weasel Member

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  13. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    ADOX 100 is a normal panchromatic film; you want ADOX 25 or 50 for the reduced red sensitivity.

    But if you have a film with less red sensitivity, you will have greater subject contrast, because anything that is remotely pink on their skin will look dark.

    That said, ADOX 100 could be interesting, but it's a bit coarse-grained for a 100 film. If you're willing to go C41, XP2 Super would be your absolute best bet for midtones. In silver gelatin, I would go with Tri-X 400, Neopan 400, FP4+, Delta 400, or even TMAX/Delta 3200.
     
  14. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    Thanks to everyone for your input.